STEM Education News
In This Issue:
- Triangle Coalition Seeks Conference Presentations
- Lawmakers Vote to Boost STEM Education in Immigration Bill
- House Education Committee Discusses Accountability
- Energy Department and NSTA Launch America’s Home Energy Education Challenge
- Collaboratory for Advancement of the Teaching Profession Invites New Members
- ITIF Discusses Reauthorization of America COMPETES
- Remy Dou Discusses Authentic Learning Experiences in JESS Editorial
Triangle Coalition Seeks Conference Presentations
Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education is now seeking speakers for the 13th Annual STEM Education Conference. The 2013 conference will be held at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC on September 12-13, with a briefing on Capitol Hill on September 11. The purpose of the conference is to identify and share novel ideas that advance STEM education in the U.S., as well as “best practices” that have raised the bar for STEM at the local, state, and national level. View the Request for Proposals
Lawmakers Vote to Boost STEM Education in Immigration Bill
(Education Week, Politics K-12, 5/14/13) — Good news for STEM fans: There’s even more federal resources for science, mathematics, engineering and technology in the big, comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill making its way through the U.S. Senate.
The Senate Judiciary committee, which is holding a markup of the bill today, voted unanimously to take money collected on fees for labor certifications under the bill and direct the money towards STEM education at the U.S. Department of Education. That could mean an additional $100 million annually for STEM education. Full article.
House Education Committee Discusses Accountability
On Tuesday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on “Raising the Bar: Exploring State and Local Efforts to Improve Accountability,” to discuss the federal government’s role in accountability and to learn about current state and local efforts to hold schools accountable for student performance.
Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) convened the hearing expressing the importance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the need to reauthorize the legislation “in the coming months.” “It’s time to change the law,” he said. “These waivers are a short-term fix for a long-term problem and leave states and districts tied to a failing law.” Kline went on to highlight the four Republican priorities for the rewrite of this law . Read this Legislative Update.
Energy Department and NSTA Launch America’s Home Energy Education Challenge 2013–2014 Program
(NSTA Express, 5/13/13) – Registration is now open for America’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC), a national student competition administered by NSTA for the Energy Department and created to help families save money by saving energy. Students, educators, and school principals are encouraged to register to participate at HomeEnergyChallenge.org.
Participation in AHEEC will be broken into two parts: the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings, and participants can chose one or get involved with both. All students from third to eighth grade are eligible to enter for both parts of the challenge, including students in after school and home school programs.
For the Home Energy Challenge participating student teams will monitor and measure their energy consumption over a three-month period between September 2013 and February 2014, and compare it to data from the same period the year before.
Schools of all sizes are eligible to compete and schools without other nearby schools to compete against may hold a competition among classes within their school. Competing schools and classes will compete within 11 regions for more than $60,000 in prizes that will be distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition.
The Energy Fitness Award is an individual challenge that will begin September 1, 2013, and continue through the school year. Modeled after the President’s Physical Fitness Test, the Energy Fitness Award challenges students to better understand foundational energy issues and provides students with an opportunity to learn where their energy comes from and how to use it efficiently.
Learn more at HomeEnergyChallenge.org.
Collaboratory for Advancement of the Teaching Profession Invites New Members
Interested in connecting with forward-thinking teachers from around the country? Want to improve education on a systems level? The Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) welcomes teachers and anyone who value teachers as leaders to join its redesigned virtual community, the CTQ Collaboratory. Powered and led by teachers, the Collaboratory is an open online space for building connections with peers, learning from and with colleagues, and generating innovative solutions that will help all students. Join the movement. Learn and lead at www.teachingquality.org.
ITIF Discusses Reauthorization of America COMPETES
On Tuesday, May 7, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) hosted an event on Capitol Hill to discuss the upcoming reauthorization of the America COMPETEs Act—a bill that governs federal investments in research and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs. Congress enacted the America COMPETES Act with the goal of enhancing the science and innovation enterprise that underpins U.S. economic growth. While the law has arguably been successful in improving federal innovation programs, more can be done to enhance the implementation, coordination and overall success of science and technology policy and further its impact on the economy, according to ITIF.
Recently, ITIF released its own set of policy recommendations for a revised law, which is up for reauthorization this year. The recent report, “25 Policy Recommendations for the 2013 America COMPETES Act Reauthorization,” offers a series of reforms designed to revamp the U.S. innovation system and spur additional investment in science and technology. “If the United States wants a globally competitive economy going forward, federal policy must play a more active role in spurring R&D, innovation and technology transfer,” says Stephen Ezell, a senior analyst with ITIF and coauthor of the report.
Speakers said that the 113th Congress is expected to take a conservative approach to revising the law—meaning there won’t be any sweeping changes or big new programs. In addition, the debate of the bill could again reflect the fiscal environment. When the bill was reauthorized in 2010, many authorized programs were eliminated because they hadn’t been funded since their creation. Fiscal conservatives could be looking to slim the bill down even further. In addition, some of the controversy around the science of climate change and recent discussions about the peer review process in federally funded research could affect the substance and tone of the conversations around the bill on Capitol Hill.
Event speakers included Rob Atkinson, President of ITIF, Scott Doron, Director of the Southern Technology Council, Kathleen Kingscott, Director of Strategic Partnerships for IBM Research, and Morgan Reed, Executive Director, ACT. For more information, visit: http://www2.itif.org/2013-twenty-five-policy-recs-competes-act.pdf.
Einstein Fellows Spotlight
Remy Dou Discusses Authentic Learning Experiences in JESS Editorial
In the April 2013 edition of The Journal of Experimental Secondary Science, Einstein Fellow Remy Dou published an editorial about the role of scientific research and inquiry-based learning in the classroom. In the article, Encouraging Authentic Learning Experiences, Dou writes, “What many refer to as ‘inquiry’ learning is in essence the heart of scientific practice and research.” He goes on to say, “As a result of these types of experiences students show gains in both cognitive and non-cognitive dimensions. Students participating in inquiry-based practices enjoy the open-endedness of learning, and feeling more involved in the classroom. In addition to increasing positive attitudes toward science, students of various backgrounds and contexts develop better conceptual understandings.”
Dou is a high school science teacher from Miami, Florida who is currently serving a second school-year as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings in the Lifelong Learning Cluster. Read the full editorial here.